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Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma Treatment

Stages of Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma

After intraocular melanoma has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the eye or to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the eye or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

Sometimes pictures of the tumor are taken over a period of time and compared to see if the tumor has grown.

The following sizes are used to describe intraocular melanoma:

Small

The tumor is at least 5 millimeters in diameter and from 1 to 3 millimeters thick.

Medium

The tumor is less than 16 millimeters in diameter and from 2 to 10 millimeters thick.

Large

The tumor is at least 16 millimeters in diameter or more than 10 millimeters thick.

Diffuse

The tumor is flat and grows widely across the uvea.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

Intraocular melanoma may spread to nearby tissues or to other parts of the body.

If intraocular melanoma spreads to the optic nerve or nearby tissue of the eye socket, it is called extraocular extension. Intraocular melanoma may also be metastatic and spread to the liver, lung, or bone, or to areas under the skin.